Top Baseball Prospects for 2014
Now updated for 2014's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
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A mature Cuban first baseman, slugger Jose Dariel Abreu (Correa) was the Cuban League's MVP in 2010-2011, a season in which he hit 33 home runs in 66 gams, a Cuban League record. His .453/.597/.986 line is also the best in recorded history. After defecting from Cuba in late 2013, he signed a six-year major league contract with the White Sox. He's expected to earn playing time this season, and while he may strike out a lot, his game-changing power will play in any league.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Abreu
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A defensive star in the making, outfielder George Springer brings great range, a good glove and a powerful arm to the park. He'd be patrolling spacious centerfield in Minute Maid Park already, if only his bat could catch up to the rest of his all-around game. After scuffling in 2012, Springer started lighting up scoreboards last season, stroking 37 homers and a very impressive .303/.411/.600 line a season evenly split between AA and AAA.
While the Astros may try to hold him back for cost-management reasons, Springer is 24 this spring, which means his time is almost certainly right now.
More Scouting Book Info on George Springer
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A big Dominican outfielder with an even bigger left-handed bat, Cardinal slugger Oscar Taveras was promoted to AA ball in 2012 and promptly spanked it to the tune of .321/.380/.572. Testing AAA waters in 2013, he spanked the ball almost as well, with a .306/.341/.462 slash line and five homers in six weeks of work. He's big-league ready right now, so as soon as the Cardinals elect to give him a chance, he'll be making some highlight reels. While there's an outside chance he could land a spring job, it's safer to look for him in June.
More Scouting Book Info on Oscar Taveras
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Seen by many as the best pure hitter in the 2013 draft class, San Diego's Kris Bryant is a polished college prospect who looks like a quality middle of the order bat. In Chicago, he'll get a long look at third base, due to positional needs, but he may still end up at first base, despite his good arm. That might dim his prospect star a little, and it gives bears some easy ammunition, but long-term it really shouldn't matter: his bat is good enough for any position, and he looks to be a solid piece in the Cubs' rebuilding effort.
More Scouting Book Info on Kris Bryant
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With the first pick of the 2012 Draft, Houston showed a commitment to a strong future with the surprise selection of teenage phenom Carlos Correa, a natural shortstop who impressed scouts with a superior work ethic and five solid tools. His power potential is especially intriguing for a player who looks well-suited to remain at short, though he seems aware of this: his swing gets a little long and lofty at times when he reaches for the seats. Some good coaching along with the aforementioned work ethic should fix this, of course, and as he blossoms, he'll be a cornerstone of a future Astros lineup, just what the team needs to build a competitive team in the tough AL West.
More Scouting Book Info on Carlos Correa
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A Florida prep infielder with a plus power bat and better than average speed, shortstop Addison Russell will probably grow out of the position very soon, but he'll look quite good as a third baseman, too. Now a member of the Cubs, he's one of the best hitting prospects in the system, and could get a chance in the Bigs earlier than expected, assuming Theo and Co assemble their other missing pieces in short order.
More Scouting Book Info on Addison Russell
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There aren't a lot of Arubans around MLB, but the tiny island's reputation should be well-represented by Red Sox infield prospect Xander 'Crews' Bogaerts. A player of exceptional baseball intelligence, the man from San Nicolas has a graceful, quick swing with a little natural loft that should serve him well once his body fills out a bit more. His contact is solid and strong to all fields, and he's an above-average baserunner to boot. His weaknesses to date are iffy strike zone judgement (he's young) and some awkwardness in the field, especially with his footwork (he's young). There's really not anything to worry about here, though, other than whether he'll settle at short, second or third for the long-haul. No matter where he plays, though, it's safe to pre-order your Bogaerts jersey, as long as you remember to triple-check the spelling.
More Scouting Book Info on Xander Bogaerts
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The Mariners' first round pick in 2010, righthander Taijuan Walker looks like a number one starter on almost any MLB team. On the Mariners, that probably makes him a number three, or maybe two-and-a-half. (This team's pitching depth in the minors is just plain sick.
Walker's progress took leaps and bounds forward after a step back in 2012, ending with a September in Safeco in which he looked more than capable of holding his own. Walker works mainly with a 94mph darting fastball that has great late movement, and when he mixes in a sometimes-effective straight change at 82mph, the fastball is nearly unhittable. His breaking pitch is a slurvy curve that isn't yet ready for regular use, but he'll have time to develop. Walker has higher upside (and higher risk) than either Hultzen or Paxton, but he's also a lot younger, and will probably take longer to realize his full potential. Still, there's not much left for him to learn, which means he stands a very good chance of breaking camp in the big leagues in 2014.
More Scouting Book Info on Taijuan Walker
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A nominal shortstop, Puerto Rican mini-Cub Javier Baez also looks just fine at second and third, and has one of the highest overall upsides of any infield prospect in baseball. His ultimate position will probably come down to some mix of organizational need and how his body develops.
A solid all-around athlete, there's no reason to yet believe he won't stick at shortstop, thanks to a strong arm, soft hands and good feet. He hasn't yet shown the power for a corner, though, so his best route to the majors is definitely the middle of the diamond. He's not very widely known yet, but wait another year and Cubs fans will be clamoring for a Castro-Baez (or perhaps Baez-Castro) infield combination. They should sample one or the other sometime in 2014.
More Scouting Book Info on Javier Baez
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Top Prospects 2013